Cree woman dying of cancer last one standing on Attawapiskat diamond mine

first_img(Rebecca Iahtail (left) and Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence (right) at the diamond mine ice road blockade on Friday night. APTN/photo)By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsATTAWAPISKAT– Inside the wood stove-warmed canvas tent beside the barricades on the ice road leading to the De Beers diamond mine, Rebecca Iahtail says she’s dying from cancer.There are several women sitting around Iahtail, three men, including Iahtail’s partner Noah, at the tent’s entrance. The conversation is almost totally in Cree.Spruce boughs and canvas are used as ground cover. Inside the tent a single candle burns next to an ashtray and an empty coffee cup. The flame glints softly off Iahtail’s glasses, her round face half shadow, half glow.The wood stove pops and hisses. The tinny sound of a pop tune can be heard coming from the headphones of a teenage girl.It’s Friday night in Attawapiskat, day six of the blockade is about to come to an end.Exhaust fumes, illuminated by headlights, float across the ice road. Tail lights streak through the darkness. A number of SUVs and pick-up trucks are buzzing between the barricades and the community, which is a couple of kilometres away.The news that De Beers obtained a court injunction to break the blockade has triggered rumours of impending arrests by the OPP.Iahtail says she has colon cancer and was given three years left to live. A mother to an 11 year-old son who is in Moose Factory at a hockey tournament, Iahtail says her impending death is part of the reason why she’s decided to stay until the end.“I got to do something,” says Iahtail. “I know I don’t have much time left.”She’s the last of the original blockaders.The other men involved decided to step down after a meeting late Friday afternoon with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and her band council.They were handed a letter asking them to stop the blockade because De Beers planned to launch an $130 million lawsuit against each of them.“Chief and council understand your frustration with De Beers in not dealing with your grievance matter,” says the letter, signed by Spence. “However, we cannot endorse any actions that prevent De Beers from operating its mine pursuant to our Impact Benefit Agreement.”The Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) is at the root of the current blockade, the second one in as many weeks.The community members involved say the IBA agreement is bad for Attawapiskat and doesn’t give the community enough for the use of the diamond riches on their traditional territory.Inside the tent, Danny Metatawabin, the IBA coordinator, uses his gloves to outline the Victor mine site and points out De Beers is also looking to exploit another area called “Tango.”Metatawabin says the company will have to negotiate a new IBA and, based on the problems the community sees with the current deal, the Attawapiskat government will be looking to land a better agreement.Iahtail, however, doesn’t want to wait four more years for a better agreement. This is her stand, she says, and the blockade won’t end even if she’s taken away.“I know there is a lot of people that are going to come back,” she says. “They told me they are going to keep blockading…They are going to keep on. After they take me they are going to keep blockading. Are they going to take the whole reserve out? Build an Idle No More prison?”Others have told APTN National News that people know Iahtail is sick and they will stand behind her if the OPP comes to take her away.Spence was briefly at the site Friday night. She and her council said during the meeting earlier in the day that they couldn’t officially support the blockaders because it would open up the band to a massive lawsuit from the company.In an interview with APTN National News, Spence says she marked “No” on the ballot during the IBA vote in the 2005. She says there are problems with the agreement, but the band needs to work them out with De Beers.“I understand what the blockaders are saying, but we have to look out for everyone and protect them,” she says. “I understand their frustration, but we need to stand together if we are going to fight De Beers.”Iahtail, however, feels she’s been abandoned by Spence. It was Iahtail who cast the deciding vote putting Spence in as chief in 2010. Spence was tied in the race for chief with Greg Shisheesh and Iahtail, as the election officer, cast the tie-breaking vote.Iahtail and several of the women inside the tent also helped install a teepee in front of the band office in support of Spence’s six week fast on an island in the Ottawa River.“How come she’s not supporting us, why is she backing away?” says Iahtail.By late Saturday morning, the blockade site is again alive with vehicles and visitors. Someone has brought food for Iahtail.It’s now day seven.De Beers claims the blockade is threatening its operations for the rest of the year.The mine ships up about 11 million litres of fuel up the winter road every year, along with machinery and parts too heavy to fly into the mine’s airport.The mine also uses the winter road to truck-up hazardous substances like ammonia nitrate and truck out “hazardous waste material” that can’t be flown out of the mine.But the ice road to the diamond mine remains shut to De Beers.“Enough is enough you know,” says [email protected]@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

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Police wanted to obtain video of teens suicide but coroner wouldnt pay

first_imgKenneth JacksonAPTN News SaturdayAn Ontario coroner wouldn’t pay to unlock the iPod of a 15-year-old girl who used it to film her suicide inside a Sioux Lookout foster home despite police wanting to secure it as evidence, according to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) documents.And if the parents of the Ojibway teenager put up any fuss they could pay to have the video removed before the device was returned to them the coroner told investigators.Or they could let the OPP wipe the device – deleting the video and everything else on the iPod.That girl was Kanina Sue Turtle.She hanged herself Oct. 29, 2016.“Dr. (Michael) Wilson was consulted about the fee to Cellbrite (sic), and he advised the coroner’s office will not pay this fee,” says OPP notes of the Nov. 2, 2016 conversation with the regional coroner out of Thunder Bay.“Coroner requests to keep the device and if the family demands its return, the family can pay the fee to remove the video, or agree to allow police wipe the device.”Cellebrite is an Israeli company that specializes in data extraction from mobile devices, particularly Apple, and is commonly used by law enforcement in Canada.Investigators knew Turtle had filmed her suicide because Const. David Laviolette watched it as one of the first responders to Turtle’s death.Laviolette made notes of what he saw but then the device apparently “timed out” and locked according to Chief Coroner Dirk Huyer.Huyer wouldn’t respond directly to questions about the coroner’s investigation into Turtle’s death.“If the question had come to me, generally speaking, I would not be advocating for the family to pay for something,” said Huyer.The iPod remained with the coroner’s office for months.Then in May 2017 APTN first learned of Turtle’s death and spoke to her parents who said at the time they didn’t believe she killed herself.Clarence and Barbara Suggashie also said then, about six months after Turtle’s death, they didn’t have their daughter’s autopsy report.But they had filed a Freedom of Information request with the Ontario government to get the OPP’s police report into Turtle’s death.They got the report last summer, right around the same time Huyer said he ensured the family got the iPod, too.“I facilitated the family getting the iPod back to them. That’s how they got it back,” he said.Unlike police, the family was able to figure out the iPod’s passcode.That’s when they finally believed their daughter died by suicide because they watched the video.Suggashie would sleep with the device every night for months afterwards.The parents saw in the video what APTN News first reported in February: Turtle was left alone for 45 minutes before anyone in the foster home came to check on her.By the time a worker did, it was far too late for Turtle who was “chronically” suicidal according to her post-mortem report.At the time of her death, she had “hundreds” of cuts all over her body from self-harming.“The Occurrence report records that this woman had some self-inflicted type wounds to her arms. However, at autopsy, she had enumerable (hundreds) of fresh superficial self-inflicted type wounds to all limbs,” says the post-mortem report.She also had multiple hospital visits in the days before her death and the device had more videos – videos the police could have found if they accessed the device.Turtle had attempted to die by suicide the day before and filmed it as well. She also had a video of another foster child trying to kill herself just a few days before that.Barbara and Clarence Suggashie holding a picture of their late daughter Kanina Sue Turtle about six months after her death. At the time they didn’t believe she died by suicide.So how was Turtle left alone?What went wrong?Those are questions Turtle’s parent’s keep asking all these months later.“I wish someone would reach out to me and say the truth,” said Barbara Suggashie, who lives in Poplar Hill First Nation near the Manitoba and Ontario border.Suggashie has told APTN she believes Tikinagan Child and Family Services is hiding something.Tikinagan owns and operates the home that Turtle died in. It’s still being used by the agency.Up until this week Tikinagan wouldn’t answer any of APTN’s questions citing privacy, and sometimes didn’t respond to emails at all.“I can verify that Tikinagan has spoken with Barbara in the past and answered her questions. We will be reaching out privately to her again because we prefer to offer information and support personally to families,” said spokesperson Irene Dube.Suggashie said this isn’t true.In fact, last month in Sioux Lookout Suggashie, with her son Winter, 12, by her side, said she asked Tikinagan again why Turtle was left alone. Both Suggashie and her son said they never got a response.Turtle’s police report is partially redacted, meaning portions have been deleted.That’s information relating to Tikinagan.That means if police asked Tikinagan why Turtle was left alone for 45 minutes or what level of care was she supposed to be getting her parents don’t know because Tikinagan exercised a third-party clause that allowed them to keep that from the parents.“Tikinagan is prohibited by law from disclosing personal information except in limited circumstances. Tikinagan staff and the foster parent chose to have their personal and identifiable information redacted, which is their right. You also should know that Tikinagan was unaware of the source of the information request,” said Dube.The home where Kanina Sue Turtle died by suicide is owned and operated by Tikinagan Child and Family Services.Suggushie believes her last hope of finding out the truth is with the coroner’s office.Huyer is leading what he’s calling an “expert panel” review of 11 deaths between Jan. 1 2014 and July 31, 2017, that occurred with children in protective services and living in residential care, like foster and group homes.Seven of those deaths were Indigenous children, including Turtle.Of the 11 deaths under review, seven were suicides, one homicide and all had a history of mental health challenges, according to the terms of reference provided by the coroner’s office.The terms also further outline the causes that sparked the review.They include potentially being placed in the wrong homes based on the children’s needs, training and qualifications of caregivers, availability of treatment and the oversight provided by children’s aid societies.It also found concerns with the ministry of Children and Youth Services’ oversight of the placements.Huyer said the review is in the final stages and should be released later this summer.The coroner’s office did finally get a copy of the suicide video when Huyer met with Turtle’s parents this past January as part of the expert panel [email protected]@afixedaddresslast_img read more

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Delhi ACB reopens 2002 CNG fitness scam case Sources

first_imgIn a significant move, Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of government of Delhi has “reopened” the alleged 2002 CNG fitness scam of Rs 100 crore in which three top officials of Sheila Dikshit government were under scanner.“The ACB is reopening the 2002 CNG Fitness Scam in which top three babus, who had worked under Sheila Dikshit government, are under scanner,” top government sources said.They said that ACB had registered a case in 2012 into the alleged 2002 CNG Fitness scam which runs into Rs 100 crore. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJI“During the AAP’s previous 49-day stint, Arvind Kejriwal had said that all documents would be provided to CBI after the probe agency sought some documents pertaining to the scam. But, the case probe got stuck as Kejriwal government resigned,” they said, adding that as elected government is now in place in the capital, ACB would probe the matter thoroughly.The sources claimed that the probe was stalled due to inability to get permission to question the officials. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindThe Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had, in December last year, raked up the issue of the CNG fitness scam of 2002 and attacked the “continuing silence” of the Central government and Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on the alleged indictment of top bureaucrats in the city government by CBI.Senior party leader Ashutosh had said that CBI in its report has stated that the case was originally investigated by the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch, which has names of several senior bureaucrats of Delhi administration.The probe in the Rs 100-crore scam had hit a roadblock when ACB stated that it did not receive the case details to begin the probe. However, the agency is now ready to reopen the case.Commenting on Kejriwal government’s decision to pursue the 13-year-old case, Congress leader PC Chacko said the AAP government was playing vendetta politics.last_img read more

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A stroll in the honour of art

first_imgA creative hand has the ability to build some of the finest pieces of beauty, while only a blessed soul has the eye to appreciate beauty even in the smallest things. Culture and art, as the two words are used together, complement each other to create a story. The Leela Palace, New Delhi is one such destination for art enthusiasts to rejoice. In an attempt to preserve the Indian culture, the palace has specially curated paintings, sculptures and other artifacts in tune with the interiors. Walking in, you’d be greeted by melodious Indian classical music accompanied with the fragrance from fresh flowers all around soothing your senses. To take a close look at the art works in order to admire them, one would need about an hour to tour around the palace. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIn the central courtyard, overlooking the main lobby, stands an auspicious panch-dhatu statue titled ‘Devi’, a combination of different energies of the Goddess in Hindu mythology. Sculpted by Satish Gupta, it is the major attraction of the art walk in regard to worship and respect Mother Supreme. Two major walls in the central courtyard are adorned by Satish Gupta’s set of murals titled ‘Let a thousand lotuses bloom’ which symbolise purity, knowledge and wisdom. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveA couple of sculptures titled ‘Devotees’ by Satish Gujral are placed in the Lobby and the Ballroom Promenades, along with JJ Valaya’s ‘Paisley Cashmere’. The latter’s ‘Jewels of Alika’ is also a piece of art to look forward to in the Club Lounge. Lita Alburquerque’s quest to express the spiritual through material can be witnessed in her work titled ‘Solar Magnitude’ which constitute nine panels with the center panel being a monochromatic blue circle. Climbing up to the first floor, one would be greeted by Subhash Awchat’s ‘Parampara’. A painting titled ‘Memories Revisited’ by Sanjay Bhatt suits the business centre passage’s aura aptly as it portrays two faces conversing behind semi-closed doors. ‘Eternity’ and ‘Face of Life’, by Paresh Maity are worth adoring as they expand a range of possibilities of the figures painted.Espa, the spa in the hotel, is home to a series of paintings by Seema Kohli, which have innumerable stories in them, and Shipra Bhattacharya whose paintings celebrate womanhood.Gujral’s painting ‘Harnessing Artist’ depicts power symbolised by the horse form that is reduced to its essential and is being harnessed by human force. A sculpture from the ‘Mood Series’ by Dimpy Menon, portray a comfortable togetherness between the two figures placed at the Club Lounge.The palace has various genres of art in store, therefore in order to brush up your knowledge about art and culture take some time out from your busy schedule to soak in the beauty of a rare and diverse collection of contemporary Indian art. To experience them in person, visit the palace at the earliest and be guided by the hosts in the art walk thereafter sitting in the lobby over some tea and delicious pastries brooding about the exclusive walk. This luxury of experiencing the art walk touring the Leela Palace followed by hi-tea, can be availed for Rs 2500.last_img read more

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